Aggressive driving accidents are shocking, devastating, and could be extremely expensive for the victims who are left with crippling medical expenses, the inability to return to work, and have a damaged vehicle that needs repairs or to be replaced. However, under the California personal injury laws, you can file a personal injury claim to recover your losses from the liable driver. You should speak to a Bakersfield Car Accident Attorney if aggressive drivers caused an accident that led to your injuries so that you can get the legal advice you need before filing your lawsuit.
Signs of aggressive driving include:
- Driving illegally on the shoulder, sidewalk, or median
- Driving in a reckless or negligent manner
- Failing to obey traffic signs or signals
- Failing to signal turns or lane changes
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Frequent and unsafe lane changes
- Ignoring signals from other drivers
- Making obscene gestures or screaming obscenities
- Passing in no-passing zones
- Running red lights or traffic signs
- Taking out frustrations on other motorists
What percent of crashes are caused by aggressive driving?
The AAA Foundation’s Annual Traffic Safety Culture Index is a survey of millions of drivers who have reported their driving habits within 30 days of taking the survey. 32% reported that they made rude gestures or honked at other drivers, 25% sped up when another vehicle tried to overtake them, and 34%, which is about 75 million drivers, followed a vehicle in front of them closely to prevent another vehicle from merging in front of them.
What causes aggressive drivers?
It’s easy to pass off aggressive drivers as simply “mean and rude,” but it’s important to look into the causes of aggressive driving to understand the psychology behind these types of people. Some of the causes are due to personality issues or egoism. One of the causes of aggressive driving is heavy traffic. Nobody likes being stuck in traffic, and the temptation to cut others off or quickly change lanes when a gap in traffic opens up is high when you’ve been sitting in the same spot for a while. Fear of being late is another reason why people begin to lose their temper in traffic. However, no matter how congested the roads are, there is never an excuse to harm others or put them at risk.
It’s easier for people to show their ugliest side when there is no risk of running into the other driver again. This perceived anonymity gives aggressive drivers the bravery and audacity to be reckless toward other drivers. People who are normally polite and controlled in social situations may feel secure enough in their car to act in an uncharacteristically angry manner.
An inability to control one’s emotions is another cause for aggressive driving. Stress, anger, and impatience contribute to a driver being reckless behind the wheel. Drivers in an emotional state are more impulsive, selfish, distracted and may think that they are invincible. Sometimes these feelings are fueled by drugs and alcohol. In these cases, the aggressive driver could also face DUI charges for their behavior.
How should I deal with aggressive drivers?
Even if you see another driver doing something inconsiderate, rude or illegal, it’s best not to respond even if you want to badly. You can’t control other people, but you can control yourself, and reacting to a person who is upset, rushed, distracted, or worked up only puts you and your passengers in danger. Here is what you should do instead when dealing with an aggressive driver:
- Continue to abide by all relevant laws in your area, including using turn signals
- Allow others to merge into your lane if that will help to de-escalate the situation
- Remain calm and polite behind the wheel
- Avoid eye contact with the angry driver
- Never respond to aggression with aggression
- Create space between you and the other vehicle
- Do not take anything that the other driver says or does personally
- Call 911 if you feel threatened or drive to the nearest public place like a police station, fire station, or hospital
The most important thing is for you and your passengers to get to your destination safely. Remaining calm is the best way for you to stay level-headed when another driver is going out of their way to assert their dominance on the road. In the end, it doesn’t matter how they feel about themselves – what matters is your safety.
What damages could I receive in my settlement?
As mentioned earlier, you are entitled to damages for your financial losses stemming from the accident. Your emergency room visit, surgeries or hospital stays, medications, follow-up visits with specialists, and rehabilitation are all considered economic damages. If your injuries prevent you from being able to work, then you can file for lost wages for the time you have already missed from work, and your future lost earning potential if you will be out of work for a while. Other expenses, ranging from childcare to transportation, can also be included in a settlement.
The law also recognizes the emotional, psychological, and mental impact that an aggressive driving accident has on a person. If your injuries caused extreme suffering, the loss of the use of an organ or a limb, mental anguish, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or emotional distress, then you can recover these non-economic damages in your settlement.
Your attorney will establish liability by presenting the facts of the case based on the police reports, eyewitness testimony, and testimony from an expert witness. An expert witness is an authority in a specialized field, such as accident reconstruction, physics, or medicine. An expert witness can explain how the aggressive driver’s actions led to a dangerous situation that caused you and the passengers in your vehicle to suffer injuries. A personal injury attorney with experience in these cases can tell you how much your case is worth and what it will take to win. Reach out to a personal injury attorney today if you have been injured by an aggressive driver so that you can schedule your risk-free case evaluation.